Voters roll anomalies exposing Zec

Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec) offices

THAT some names of registered voters have reportedly gone missing from the voters roll to be used in this year’s general elections is more than disturbing.

With less than three months to the polls, the revelations are chilling, especially coming on the back of allegations earlier this week that Zanu PF has planted some dubious organisation to man voters roll inspection centres where registered voters are reportedly being asked for proof of ruling party membership before they check for their names on the roll.

For the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (Zec), which is the custodian of the voters roll, this is a major dent on its ability to hold credible elections because it is now quite possible that thousands of voters will most likely be disenfranchised come polling day. There is possibility that thousands of aspiring voters will be turned away on election day because their names will most likely be missing.

With Zec having already told us that six million nationals have registered to vote in this year’s plebiscite, it is highly likely that the bulk of those voters, especially those who voted in past elections, will not inspect the voters roll on the assumption that their names are obviously on the roll.

This election has serious potential to turn out to be the most disputed since the country’s independence in 1980 because of the many mushrooming contestations ahead of the polls.

There are now many thorns in Zec’s flesh, from how it conducted the delimitation process itself and its outcome to the state of the voters roll, which are making it difficult for anyone to have faith that this year’s elections will be anything but free, fair and credible.

It is quite dumbfounding that names of people who actually voted in the elections in 2018 appear to have vanished from the voters roll into thin air. Maybe they were deleted when Zec was cleaning the voters roll to remove deceased voters. Maybe the missing voters’ names were transferred to other constituencies by mistake.

Whatever the case may be, our sincere hope is that this should affect only a handful; otherwise if thousands are going to be disenfranchised by not finding their names on the voters roll then this election will be disastrous.

Also most disturbing is that Zec has only afforded registered voters one week to inspect the voters roll, which is yet another anomaly we believe seriously compromises the electoral management body’s chances of conducting credible elections.

If truth be told, the intriguing issues surrounding the elections are unprecedented that it will take a miracle for Zec to survive this plebiscite unscathed. And it is quite disconcerting that Zec appears unperturbed and acting as if all is well at the front, yet its performance in the elections has a serious bearing on the country’s future, which apparently is hanging by the thread.

If Zec continues to blunder like this, Zimbabwe might as well forget about rejoining the Commonwealth or any other community of nations for that matter. And there is little to no comfort in thinking that joining Russia or some grouping of “rogue” nations will help its case.

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